Château Gruaud Larose 2018
• Domaine: Château Gruaud Larose
• Appellation: Saint-Julien
• Classification: Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Gruaud-Larose is a Saint-Julien Second Growth Producer capable of creating some of the most vigorous, age-worthy wines in Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary varietal showcased in these wines, and in remarkable vintages their grand vin is highly sought after. Though the wines of Château Gruaud-Larose can be very tannic when young, they reveal their elegance and generosity with time while still retaining their power. It is not surprising the motto etched on the label of the bottle of the estate is, “King of wines, wine of kings.”
Château Gruaud-Larose has a younger history than many of the other estates in Bordeaux. Its origins date back to 1725, when it operated under the ownership of the knight Joseph Stanislas Gruaud. The property was initially called Fond-Bedeau, and it was run by two brothers – a judge named Chevalier du Gruaud and a priest. When Gruaud died, the property was given to Joseph Sebastian de La Rose, and thus Château Gruaud-Larose received its namesake. During the leadership of the Gruaud brothers, Château Gruaud-Larose achieved recognition in the French wine market. The brothers were very savvy businessmen and understood how to increase demand for their wines by driving up prices until the wines sold. They also built a tower in the vineyard to oversee employees while they worked. Though the estate is currently a stunningly modern minimalist masterpiece, one can still visit the tower today.
Château Gruaud-Larose was ranked as a Second Growth estate during Napoleon’s 1855 Classification. The size of Château Gruaud Larose has not changed since, though it has changed hands throughout the centuries. Eventually, the Château was purchased by Jacques Merlaut of the Taillan Group who oversees the property today. The Taillan Group is a négociant that owns a number of properties including Château Haut-Bages-Liberal and a 100-hectare vineyard in China, called the Beijing Taillan Winery.
Château Gruaud-Larose is a 100% biodynamic estate and they received their certification for this difficult process in 2019. They do not use pesticides here and have not done so since the 1990s. The team at Château Gruaud-Larose believes winemaking is about a union between man, terroir, and family. Organic viticulture and sustainability are priorities for their vineyard management team and the Château spares no expense in terms of winemaking technology. In addition to using organic compost and water recycling, Château Gruaud-Larose has a hail reduction canon that fires sonic waves to break up the hailstones during storms that plague the region.
With 82 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot under the vine, this estate is unique because the vines are planted in one single block. They are 46 years old on average, and meticulously tended to. Château Gruaud-Larose yields remarkably full-bodied wines with notes of liquorice, black spice, and cigar box that unfold beautifully with age. These wines are not meant to be drunk young; they need time to reveal their fullest expression. With that in consideration, top vintages of Château Gruaud-Larose are legendary -- not to mention very fairly priced.
"The 2018 Gruaud Larose was picked from 20 September with the Merlot, finishing on 10 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon, with pumping over every two days and aged for 18 to 24 months in 80% new oak. It has a deep garnet colour. The nose is tightly wound, more so than expected, with blackberry, raspberry, briary and cedar aromas, a crisper Gruaud than I have seen aromatically compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins: blackcurrant, mulberry, cedar, hints of clove developing with time. I appreciate how well the wood has integrated in the last few months. It does not possess the persistence of the 2016 Gruaud Larose, but it is very harmonious and less feral than some vintages have been. Great potential." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (November, 2019) Rating: 91-93, Drink: 2024-2045
"The 2018 Gruaud Larose is blended of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, with a pH of 3.88 and 14.2% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with bold black cherries, mulberries, plum preserves and blackcurrant cordial scents with hints of menthol, lilacs, licorice and cloves plus wafts of fallen leaves and tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied with a taut core of ripe, densely packed, muscular fruit, it has a firm line of ripe, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and spicy. Very exotic Gruaud!" - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: 95-97
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